(Adds details, comments)
MOSCOW Aug 21 Russian shares moved slightly
higher on Thursday, extending a nine-day rally, with VTB Bank
shrugging off disappointing first half results to
outperform the market.
At 0930 GMT, the dollar-denominated RTS index was up
0.1 percent to 1,259 points, while the rouble-based MICEX
traded 0.3 percent higher at 1,452 points.
Analysts said the rally was linked to hopes of a
de-escalation of the crisis in neighbouring Ukraine. Russian
President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President Petro
Poroshenko were due to meet on Aug. 26 in Minsk to discuss the
situation in eastern Ukraine, where fighting is continuing
between pro-Russian rebels and government forces.
"Investors are hoping for a weakening of geopolitical
tensions ahead of the meeting in Minsk," Zerich Capital analyst
Andrei Vernikov said in a note.
"Buying shares on the hope of the success of the
negotiations in Minsk after the failure of negotiations in Kiev,
Geneva and Berlin is very naive. There need to be other drivers
for the growth of the market."
Domestically-oriented stocks such as banks in general
outperformed the market, while major Russian energy exporters
underperformed, weighed down by a Finance Ministry plan to raise
Mineral Extraction Tax next year. Leading bank Sberbank
was up 1 percent while top oil firm Rosneft
rose just 0.1 percent.
Shares in VTB Bank rose 1.4 percent despite the
bank reporting an 82 percent slide in first-half profit. VTB had
been up 2.1 percent earlier in the day ahead of the results.
"The results didn't justify expectations - net profit
noticeably fell and was around half forecasts," Olma analyst
Ruslan Unisov said in a note.
Fertiliser producer Phosagro was up 1.9
percent after publishing results which showed a 70 percent rise
in first-half net profit.
The rouble edged down further against the dollar, which was
boosted after minutes of the U.S. Federal Reserve's July meeting
sounded slightly hawkish.
The Russian currency was 0.1 percent weaker against the
dollar at 36.34 and down 0.07 percent against the
euro at 48.21. The rouble was 0.15 percent weaker
at 41.69 against the dollar-euro basket.
For rouble poll data see
For Russian equities guide see
For Russian treasury bonds see
Russia in graphics: link.reuters.com/dun63s
(Reporting by Jason Bush and Alexander Winning; Editing by